Governor-General Anand Satyanand sits on stage at the
University of Otago graduation ceremony at the Dunedin Town
Hall on Saturday. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Universities were key sources of innovation and knowledge
creation, the Governor-General Anand Satyanand told University
of Otago graduates on Saturday.
He was commenting in an address to more than 270 graduates
with degrees and diplomas in arts, law, music and theology at
a graduation ceremony held at the Dunedin Town Hall.
A 2006 survey by Statistics New Zealand showed research and
development undertaken by New Zealand universities was valued
at $593 million a year- one-third of all research and
development undertaken in New Zealand, he said.
Universities also accounted for most of the country's
fundamental research capability, the survey had noted.
Although he was an Auckland University law graduate, he had a
"strong affection" for Otago University, and had "many happy
memories" of Aquinas College, where he had lived while
undertaking medical intermediate study at Otago as a
19-year-old in 1964.
He had subsequently realised that medicine was not his
calling and had returned to Auckland at the end of the year,
enrolling as a law student.
A former judge and ombudsman, he had last month attended a
reunion dinner at the college to mark 20 years of the
university's ownership of the facility.
A preamble to the 1869 Ordinance which had established Otago
University noted that the aim was "to promote sound
learning", with the university "open to all classes and
Since opening its doors to students in 1871, the university
had "maintained a proud history in teaching, research and
community service", he said.
Otago had been graded as the top-ranked university for
research quality in the 2006 performance-based research fund
evaluation, he said.
Given the university's open approach to entry, it was not
surprising that Emily Siedberg, the first woman to graduate
with a medical degree (in 1896), and Ethel Benjamin, the
first New Zealand woman to graduate with a law degree (in
1897), were both students at Otago.
Through their subsequent leadership, Otago graduates had it
in their power "to improve the communities that you will
serve and will make our country or wherever your career takes
you a better place", he said.